WASHINGTON — Migrants sent from Texas are still arriving in D.C. months after the state's governor followed through on a promise to send those who crossed U.S. border illegally to the nation's capital.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) first announced on April 6 that the state would send people crossing the U.S. border from Mexico to the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Abbott’s announcement came as he voiced opposition to President Joe Biden lifting Title 42, the public health policy the Trump administration started during the COVID-19 pandemic. It allows the government to quickly expel migrants and asylum seekers who come to the U.S. from countries where an infectious disease -- like COVID-19 -- is present.
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Now, months after Abbott made the announcement that many felt was more theatrical than literal, migrants continue to arrive by bus at D.C.'s Union Station. WUSA9's John Henry was there when a bus volunteers said was carrying migrants from Texas arrived around 1 a.m. on Thursday.
Volunteers with nonprofit organizations like SAMU First Response, Sanctuary DMV and DMV Mutual Aid Network have been working with migrants bussed to D.C. since April.
SAMU First Response operates a shelter for arriving migrants in Montgomery County and has a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant to help. The FEMA grant has not given the organization enough money to meet the demands of arriving migrants, according to the organization.
A spokesperson for SAMU tells WUSA9 that the problem is when the organization originally applied for the grant, one or two buses were arriving in a day. In the months since, there are now about four buses arriving on a daily basis.
SAMU says their shelter only has capacity for 50 migrants right now, and it’s frequently at full capacity. SAMU also said the grant only allows them to buy tickets for 30% of migrants who want to travel elsewhere in the states and Sanctuary DMV estimates that Mutual Aid helps pay for the majority of the tickets so far.
In an effort to get the city to do more to address the ongoing issue of arriving migrants, members of Sanctuary DMV has engaged in a work stoppage because volunteers are stretched thin, and many have gotten COVID-19 as a result of their efforts.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said the organization CARECEN was involved in Thursday's efforts to help migrants. While CARECEN was initially involved in efforts to help Texas migrants in D.C., they have since pulled out of the effort.
This is a developing story. We are working to gather additional details. Stay with WUSA9 for the latest updates as they come in to our newsroom.
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